we don't need to change how we do conservation, we need to change why we do it

Two Buddhas Dance, Part-2: “Foresight”, Really?

A very short selection from Essay Twenty-Two in Darwin, Dogen, and the Extremophile Choice.

He moved very, very slowly and carefully. With the most slight and gentle movements, trying to catch at the sound he moved his head round what seemed like a billionth part of a billionth part of a degree, slipped behind a molecule and was gone. —from The Long Dark Tea-time of the Soul by Douglas Adams [1]

Up to this point I’ve tried to reconcile my gadget-headed-poet’s two-handedness by claiming that true religion is simply a healthy scepticism turned inward. Simple? Yes, but not easy. Now, without getting too precious and spiritual about it, I think it’s time we gave Buddhism its due. In the next six essays we will be celebrating the virtue of Bodhidharma’s and Dogen’s particular cultural gate to Nature’s branching Way (Zen has absorbed a lot from Taoism). The diversion might even suggest a deeper connection between the Eastern view of religion—as a non-judgemental posture of natural response-ability that is methodically practised, rather than a set of expectations based on narrative models—and the Western science picture of how living systems evolve without the ‘advantage’ of foresight.


1. Adams, Douglas. 1988. The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul. Cavaye Place, London: Pan Books (1989 edition). p. 215.

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